sun 23/09/2018

Shakespeare

Henry V, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol review - the pity of war

Henry V is a play shot through with martial energy and the terrible chaos of war. The almost overpowering violence and energy that characterise the story give the unfolding of the drama a permanently disrupted form, as if the unpredictability of...

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Love's Labour's Lost, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - in praise of a fantastical Spaniard

If ever there was a play of “well bandied” words, it’s surely Love’s Labour’s Lost. The early Shakespearean comedy may once have hit a highpoint for verbal wit, but much of that context – the word play, the allusions, the sheer stylistic preening...

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Pericles, National Theatre review - a fizzingly energetic production

A break-dancing mini Michael Jackson, a transvestite Neptune, and a hero who wears his hubris as proudly as his gold-tipped trainers, are unconventional even by Shakespeare’s standards, but they all play a key part in this joyful act of subversion....

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Emilia, Shakespeare's Globe review - polemic disguised as a play

It feels like Michelle Terry’s first summer season at the Globe has been building up to Emilia for a while now. The theme is Shakespeare and race, so Othello was something of a given. It's joined by The Winter’s Tale, as if the Emilias of these two...

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King Lear, Duke of York's Theatre, review - towering Ian McKellen

Jonathan Munby's production starring Ian McKellen, first seen last year in Chichester and now transferred to the West End, reflects our everyday anxieties, emphasising in the world of a Trump presidency, the dangers of childish, petulant...

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As You Like It, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - love among the bucolic hippies

It's been raining in Regent's Park. On a balmy summer evening during a prolonged dry spell – perfect for outdoor theatrics – it seems ironic to tempt fate by creating artificial downpours and thunderstorms. But this music-filled, modern-dress...

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As You Like It, Shakespeare in the Squares review - an exuberant celebration of the Summer of Love

Gender-bending, confused identities, and hedonistic anarchy go together as naturally in summer Shakespeare as strawberries and cucumbers in Pimms, and in Tatty Hennessy’s exuberant alfresco version of As You Like It, touring to squares across...

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The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare's Globe review - a chilly tale for a time of austerity

“A sad tale’s best for winter,” Leontes’ young son Mamillius tells us. By that logic the current summer heatwave should be bringing us a Winter’s Tale overflowing with joy – the songs of Bohemia drowning out the shouted accusations and desperate...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Wilton's Music Hall review - a stereotype-smashing evening of pagan delights

The Faction’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a production in which women are more likely to kick ass than sleep with one – a muscular, mischievous take on the Bard’s most light-hearted play about forbidden love. As might be expected, this boldly...

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Julius Caesar, BBC Four review - electrifying TV launch of all-women Shakespeare trilogy

Who would have thought, when Phyllida Lloyd's Donmar Julius Caesar opened to justified fanfare, that two more Shakespeare masterpieces would be sustained no less powerfully within the women's-prison context over the following years? Faced with the "...

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Falstaff, Garsington Opera review - Sir John under pressure

All those pranks, set-ups, fake letters and disguises, they just keep coming thick and fast in Verdi’s Falstaff. The score has irresistible energy and momentum. The composer made sure in his last opera that when the fantasies, schemes and hopes of...

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The Two Noble Kinsmen, Shakespeare's Globe review - a breezy bromance served up slight

Those who find the Bard tough going – wasn't that one of Emma Rice's admissions back in the day? – should beat a path to The Two Noble Kinsmen, a late-career collaboration with John Fletcher that emerges as Shakespeare lite. Remembered (dimly) as...

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